Farangs vs. Shooting an Elephant: Developed Countries Intruding Developing Countries.
Developed countries are also called first world countries. On the other hand, developing countries are known as third world countries. Formal situations always make use of the terms developed and developing as opposed to first world and third world countries.Farangs is a story that forms part of the collection of stories that have been written by Rattawut Lapcharoensap.They are in his popular book entitled Sightseeing. An elephant on the other hand is a well developed story by the famous English novelist; George Orwell. Perhaps his most known work is Animal Farm. In a strikingly coincidental manner, these two stories weave a similar theme that cannot be missed by even the careless reader. The theme is the intrusion and disturbance of the way of life in third world or developing countries. This essay will look at Shooting an Elephant and then Farangs with a keen interest on how the local people in the concerned countries were subjected to a climate of intrusion into their affairs.
George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant is set in Burma. The narrator is working at a station as a colonial policeman, a job he does not like. He goes about his daily duties with a deep seated feeling of dissatisfaction in what he is doing. At this time, Burma is a colony of the British colonial power. This is the case with most Asian countries such as India. The local people have lost their way of life and all that is going on is confusion. They are supposed to start doing things the way the colonizers are doing. How do we know whether they are happy with this or not? The local or indigenous people of Burma demonstrate their dislike to this new way of life together with the people who have come with it through their hatred for narrator. In page 1, the opening paragraph, he clearly tells us, “I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me” (Orwell 1).The reason for their hatred towards him is that he represents the government that they consider oppressive. This is an intrusion into the way of life of the people of Burma by the British crown, a scenario that without doubt, made life difficult for the local people.
Apart from the above, the aspect of intrusion and the subsequent disturbance is stated by the narrator, who surprisingly hates the British imperial power for all that they are doing. This comes out as a big irony given that this is the same government that he is working for. On page one of the story, he say thus, “Theoretically—and secretly, of course—I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear” (Orwell1). This statement brings out the element of oppression. It is true that the Burmese people were being subjected to untold suffering till the narrator, an employee and citizen of the colonizing country felt that it was too much and silently directed his sympathies to the local people.
Besides the above, when people are satisfied with whatever that is being done for them or to them, they cannot mock, abuse or behave in an unbecoming way to the person doing it. If the Britons were doing the best for the Burmese, there is no doubt that the Burmese would have welcomed them and treated them well. But the story shows a climate of hostility from the local people towards the white Eurpoens.The short story points out that the monks stood at street corners and jeered at and mocked Europeans. This is a clear sign that they did not like them at all. They were a source of suffering to them and getting rid of them would have been a source of peace. This kind of scenario is common with the colonial behavior of the British Empire in all the countries that they invaded. They oppressed the local people by degrading them socially, exploiting them economically and denying them their political rights.
In a similar manner, Farangs presents us with a developing country, Thailand that is the subject of intrusion by the West. Young white women are fond of touring this country and they have introduced a unique kind of relationship that is short-lived and purely based on convenience. It lasts the duration that they are on vacation. This has a negative impact on the morals of the local people. The questionable character of these girls is further illustrated by the girl who sends the narrator a post card without a return address.
Leaving the above aside, the narrator has lost one of his parents; his father. He is the victim of an accident that takes place in a firm that produces items that are destined for the West. He tells us that his father was killed by a crate that was full of “little wooden toys waiting to be sent to the children of America” (Lapcharoensap 2).The message here is that the west has gone into their part of the world and decided to pay the local people small amounts of money to destroy their forests so as to produce toys for American children. Nothing can be more detestable than this. To make it even more serious, the working conditions are not safe at all. This is why the narrator has lost his father in this factory to a crate that is full of the finished products; which are the already packed toys. The narrator also demonstrates the level of degradation they have undergone till they have to do silly things so as to make the foreigners laugh. They do these things at a very young age; meaning that the foreigners do not care so much about abusing the rights of these Thai children. Lapcharoensap says, “For added effect, we'd make monkey noises when we climbed, which always made them laugh” (Lapcharoensap 1)
From the two stories, we can see the clear disturbance and confusion that arises as a result of the west’s uninvited entry into developing countries. The local lives are thrown into disarray and in most cases the local people are oppressed. Lapcharoensap and Orwell capture this theme in the most appropriate way possible.